The T Bans Religious Ads From Buses

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH ( – The T’s Board of Directors voted to change its advertising policy Wednesday.

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority will no longer allow religious-themed ads to appear on its buses.

The decision comes after The T sold ad space on four of its buses to the atheist group The Dallas Fort Worth Coalition of Reason.

The banner read “Millions of Americans are good without God”.

“We wanted to do two things: to attract people to ourselves and let people know we’re not demons.” Said Terry McDonald, President of the Coalition.

Before the campaign even rolled out there was a public backlash from some religious leaders and bus riders.

“True, everyone has an opinion,” said bus rider Brenda Price, “but I wouldn’t ride the bus, I wouldn’t ride THAT bus.”

“I don’t think they should put that kind of stuff out there,” said Chris Medved, who rides the bus every day. “It’s too much controversy on public transportation. ”

In early December, when the ads were purchased, The T’S advertising policy allowed for religious-oriented banners.
Numerous Christian ads also adorn the company’s fleet.

“We’ve had religious ads and one non-religious ad,” said Joan Hunter, spokesperson for The T. “It’s an appreciation of freedom of speech.”

Some religious leaders called for a bus boycott, but Hunter said it did not have a noticeable impact.

Others bought ad space on the same buses.

The morning team at Christian radio station 90.9 KCBI took a different approach.

“We at KCBI made the conscious decision to be on the offensive this year, and to keep Christ in Christmas,” said morning show host Jim Wilson. “We thought this would be the best and most positive way to do that, by singing Christmas carols on the buses.”

The KCBI team said they’d support the board in removing all religious ads from buses, as did the Coalition of Reason.

Dallas’ public transportation system, DART, already prohibits religious advertisements of any kind.

“We are for the separation of church and state,”McDonald said. “I think most of my members would support a decision to make all of the public transportation religion free.”

“We do believe in freedom of speech,” said Terri Barrett, of the KCBI morning team, “but we also appreciate the fact that like DART did, where they said they don’t want to be a forum for public discussion they’d rather just be a transit company. That might be the best approach for The T.”

The policy change is effective immediately. Any ads currently running can remain until the contracts expire. The latest contract expires December 31, 2010.


(C) Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media.  All rights reserved.

  • Publius

    Congrats. You just took the bait. This was exactly what was wanted. I didn’t want the prevalence of these ads to continue anymore than the next guy, but I am smart enough to see a baited hook. Religion in the eyes of the law isn’t divided even by atheism/believer. You just opened the door to challenge what made Ft. Worth’s rebuild after the tornado such a shining example of how to make a miracle out of disaster. There was a reason these ads were taken out in Ft. Worth instead of Deep Ellum. Now any religious presence on city/public property that can be manipulated into being classified as advertising will be challenged under this president. Don’t be so quick in your religious zeal as to not see when you are being tested. That being said ….. it was pure in reaction so it will all work out.

  • Susan Winters

    Christains had their way for years posting thier tripe but had a hissy fit when another group stepped up and did the same thing,
    And you CBS 11/TXA21 just lost the right to call yourself a legit professional news station. You cannot as a legit news station hold or allow a bias into your stories and you did just that by only reporting the comments from the christians.

    • Mike

      Susan Winters. It’s sad people with your opinion don’t consider the very beliefs they claim to have such as “an open mind” The nation is founded on Judial Christian philosophy and tradition. It’s the foundation on which the greatest nation on earth today exist. If you believe in the “Fairness” to all religions and no religions that’s fine but trying to say Christians are controlling is a bit much. Humm.. What happened to your open mind again? Anyways, GOD bless you.

      • Susan Winters

        LOL Mike history can be manipulated and christians have perfected that art as well as any group can.
        The christians in this area are controlling what is said and what is reported. If you had ever stopped to pay attention to their reporting you would get it. Your opinion is biased in favor of TXA21 and I can just imagine why.

      • Red

        Which Judeo Christian philosophies and traditions, exactly? We don’t have laws that honor the Sabbath, that’s Saturday. We don’t have any laws about idolatry. And we certainly don’t have any laws about boiling a goat in its mother’s milk (which is one of the actual 10 commandments). None of the stuff about stealing and killing is unique or original to Judaism or Christianity so while we’re a nation with a lot of Christians in it, we are most certainly not a Christian nation. Even John Adams thought so, when he signed the Treaty of Tripoli while he was president. “The United States is in no way founded on the Christian religion”.

    • Christopher

      CBS 11 twice reported the comments by Terry McDonald, the president of the Coalition of Reason. Thus, your criticism of them is moot.

  • Mike

    “The separation between church & state.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some took that as “church” only. In other words, we don’t have to separate Mosque & state or Atheism and state but rather church. I understand everyone is entitled to an opinion here bu I never saw “One nation under God” is the same as one nation without any God.

    • Red

      So what were we before 1954, when that became one of the nation’s mottoes? And separation of church and state means the government doesn’t get involved in the business of religion and religion doesn’t get involved in the business of government. To have it otherwise would be to invite disaster on both. Why is it so hard to understand that mixing the two dilutes, distorts and destroys both? Religion flourished so much in the US precisely because there wasn’t a bunch of government interference with it.

      • Mike

        I have no problem with the separation when it comes to law making or applying the rule of law in general. The point I was making was that some take that as if “church” is the enemy of the state and it is not. I was also making the point that the country only got that far for being DEPENDENT on morals and traditions primarily found in Christianity. You know the days you mentioned (1950s) and little later. People used to pray in public schools and they better understand that morals and peaceful religions were the foundation for the future. Today, on the other hand, you’re constantly frowned upon and getting called “Jesus freak” etc. At the very least when Christians refuse an argument or take a certain position on a controversial issue, they don’t go around “demonizing” others like your typical liberal media and people do.

  • Red

    Religion is kind of the enemy of the state just as the state is kind of the enemy of religion. Both are looking to hold people’s attention and energy (and money) and if the two mix, it’s disastrous for everyone.

    Are you saying that nonbelievers aren’t demonized? Did you read the article?

    Watch this:

    The country didn’t become great because of morals and traditions found primarily in Christianity. First, as I’ve already said, those morals and traditions are neither unique or original to the bible. Second, the whole experiment of the US was something brand new. It had never been done before so it couldn’t have much basis in Christianity. It was much more a product of Enlightenment thinking and principles.

    I very much disagree that religion (of any kind) is the foundation for the future. Religion didn’t eradicate smallpox. Religion didn’t put people on the moon. Religion didn’t give us statins. Religion didn’t create the internet. Religion is often the barrier to the future. Your typical conservative media and people want to drag us back to the stone age where minorities were property and women kept their mouths shut (that’s a little in jest, but your comment about ‘liberals’ was very ignorant and misplaced).

    And did you know that kids can still pray in school? They just can’t have teachers lead those prayers during school time. That would be violating the separation of church and state as it applies to the rule of law.

    • Susan Winters

      Mike you made a comment tht morals come from christanity, your religion does not hold all the cards with morals or being good. Not even a little.I doubt very seriously that you have ever looked at the moral compas of other religions or from a non biased view.

      You also said that christians dont demonize in regards to arguments, you wrong again.

  • les

    it’s so sad that people have so insecure in their beliefs that words affect them this way .

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